This Sunday at Kansas Speedway will mark AJ Allmendinger’s 2nd start in the NASCAR Cup series after being reinstated by the sanctioning body in September. It will also be his 2nd start in the #51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet owned by James Finch.
Last Saturday night at Charlotte AJ was able to garner a 24th place finish for the Phoenix Racing team even after having to serve a penalty under green flag conditions for an uncontrolled tire during the prior pit stop. But most importantly, AJ finished the race with the car intact and had a solid top-20 run going before having to serve the pass-thru penalty.
The hopes and expectations for Sunday’s race in the Kansas heartland are much the same as they were last Saturday night. For AJ to get as much speed as he can out of the #51 machine while making sure to finish every lap of the race. The team and driver have much to learn about each other, but fortunately have two extra days to work together prior to this weekend’s racing event. Due to the reconfiguration of the race track, NASCAR is allowing the Spring Cup teams to get some extra practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
AJ is no stranger to finding speed at the Kansas racetrack. In April of this year he sat on the pole and led the first 44 laps while driving the #22 for Penske Racing. A fuel injection problem brought an end to the dominant performance in the early part of the race, however. Prior to the 2012 Spring race AJ’s best finish was 9th at the track.
Phoenix Racing had a good showing at Kansas in April also. Kurt Busch qualified the #51 Chevy 14th on the grid and brought it home in 17th place. The reconfiguration of the track will be new for all the drivers and should even the playing field. With two extra days of practice there are high hopes that the Phoenix Racing team will have another successful outing with AJ behind the wheel.
Testing runs from 2-6pm/et on Wednesday and 9:30-12:30pm/et on Thursday. The weekend events start at 12:30pm/et on Friday with the first scheduled practice. Qualifying coverage will start at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. There are two rounds of practice scheduled for Saturday: 11:00-11:50am/et and 1:50-2:50pm/et. The race will be broadcast on ESPN with pre-race ceremonies starting at 2:00pm/et on Sunday.
Photo courtesy @PhoenixRacing51